We’ve all adjusted to some form of working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. What may have started out as make-shift desks and valiant attempts at perfecting your video chat background have now become a standard part of the workplace culture.
As many of us begin to return to the office, we will also experience some lasting impacts from this prolonged work from home era. For some, the return will mark a corporate embrace of a flexible, hybrid model, with employees working from home some days and commuting into the office on others.
Since home productivity is here to stay to some degree for just about everyone, you’ve probably considered making some permanent home improvements to elevate your at-home workspace. We will explore some affordable options that both improve your work time and let you relax when you’re off the clock.
Create a Dedicated Working Space
The first piece to solve in your work from home puzzle is picking the right spot to set up shop. If you’re fortunate enough to have a spare bedroom or den, this initial step might be easy. If you’re more limited on space, you could create a dual-purpose area. For example, if you have a guest bedroom, you could add a desk and chair. Your visiting family and friends will still be able to enjoy a comfortable room, and they might even appreciate the workspace.
Consider these aspects when designing your home office oasis:
- Do you need a quiet area? If you take a lot of phone calls or have frequent important meetings, you’ll benefit from selecting a space away from others who might be noisy at home. You might also need a tranquil corner to focus and complete more intensive tasks.
- Let the natural light in. Being inside all day while you work and staying there at night can take a toll on the body. If you can create your home office in a part of your house with a large window, you’ll appreciate being able to see the outdoors.
OPTIMIZE FOR ERGONOMICS AND YOUR COMFORT
Once you commit to a room or area, your next step will be selecting office furniture. Your needs will vary based on your line of work, but most people working from home will need a desk and chair at a minimum. It’s vitally important for your personal health that you set up your workspace with ergonomics in mind, but many of us may not really know what that entails.
There’s a lot that goes into perfecting your ergonomic office design, and these guiding principles from Alan Hedge at Cornell University will get you started on the right path:
- Reduce your head and neck strain.
- Your hands and wrists should be able to lay flat on your table.
- Your seated posture should allow you to see your screen while providing lower back support.
In addition to these aspects, Professor Hedge highlights the importance of taking breaks to stretch. Standing up or walking around every 20 minutes or so during your workday will keep your circulation going and decrease your risk of injuries.
PERSONALIZE YOUR SPACE TO REFLECT YOUR STYLE
After all, this office space is also your home! Don’t forget the value that a pop of color, an inspirational quote, a cherished photo, or a cool plant can have. Just when you’re feeling uninspired or overwhelmed, those personal touches can help you crack a smile and recharge. Add decorative pieces that bring you comfort and provide inspiration.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT A SPACE FOR RELAXATION
We all know what is said about all work and no play. It’s important that your home office upgrades also consider your reward for all of your hard work.
Revisiting the importance of stretching we discussed earlier, you can build that behavior into your routine as you walk to a coffee or tea station you’ve installed with rewarding yourself in mind. It’s both a practical and relaxing addition that won’t cost a lot.
While some of your relaxation add-ons might involve supporting a productive work environment, you should also do something that’s just fun. There will come a time that you sign off from that phone or computer each day, and it’s important that you can recharge and unwind in your own home.
The ideas we’ve explored here can take on the life you breathe into them. You can certainly achieve a healthy home office workspace on a tight budget, but you can also invest and make your new area remarkable. If you’ll need financing for your remodel, our team will gladly provide a free consultation, including reviewing loan programs specifically for home renovations.